Thursday, November 10, 2016

Falling On Instruments

We had a house guest last week.

She was a traveling companion that needed to stay the night before her flight back home. So we had her take the couch in the living room.

Now, the living room is where I practice my upright bass, and where our boy practices his cello. It's also got some bookshelves, lamps, a couple of small tables, a stereo system. It's a good-sized room. 

In the morning, she apparently went looking for some light, but didn't see any of the four lamps around, so decided to open the vertical blinds in front of the window. This is very near where my upright bass and the cello like to hang out. I suppose they like the light, too.

Now, I didn't see it happen, but there was a loud crash, and my sister went to see what happened, just as my wife was calling to check on us.

Apparently, the guest fell right onto the instruments, of all things! So here's the result:

Mark where bass hit blinds
Window glazing on patio from bass hitting the window
Small damage to bass edge
Major crack in 'cello top
Crack extends to lower bout

Now, I haven't yet had the bass properly looked at, but we took the cello, which is a student model, back to the shop from which we have been renting it, and they exchanged it for another one at no cost!

So, kudos and a big thank you to Manchester Music for being awesome, understanding and standing by their guarantee!

It definitely was a bit of an unusual, freak accident, but ended without any additional stress on us, for which I am grateful!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


Today, for some reason I felt compelled to Google "slappadippy" and was delighted to see that nothing was returned. So, I hereby aim to fix that! ;-)

Friday, March 11, 2016

So I've ordered a book from Amazon, and it shipped out on March 1st.

Tracking the package reveals only that it's on its way and should arrive around March 21st. Twenty days.

A Google search shows that the distance the package must travel by road is 1320 miles, from Salt Lake City to St. Louis. That's 66 miles per day. Which is 5.5 miles per hour, if you allow 12 hours per day for travelling.

So what does all this mean?

Someone from USPS is walking (or very casually running) 1320 miles from Salt Lake City to deliver my package.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Ziusudra album soon!

My current project is getting the tracks released that I recorded with my band Ziusudra around 2000. The challenge is that the location of the original tapes is unknown, and I am working only with some digital tracks copied from various temporary mixes from CDs and cassettes.

Ziusudra is the name for the man that was later made famous by the Book of Genesis, commonly known as Noah. There are older parallels to the Noah flood story, and the first known version, in Sumerian, called the flood hero by the name Ziusudra. I wrote a song by that name, which was a very concise version of the story, in 1993 and the guys in the band somehow agreed that this would be a good name for us.

Anyway, I hope to have these tracks out around October, 2015 or so -- a mere seventeen years after we started the recording!

Friday, August 30, 2013

I wanna play this chord on that guitar!

A couple of years back, I bought this guitar:

It's a Schecter Damien Elite 8 8-String electric guitar. Yup, 8 strings! Eight-string guitars are growing in popularity, particulary in the Metal community, and are used in bands like Meshuggah and Animals as Leaders.

I figured I'd play it like any guitar, but with the benefit of the added lower strings.

For one thing, you have more real estate on the fingerboard on which to improvise. Also, you can add another, lower 5th to your standard barre chords (E-shape) on the 7th string. In addition, you can just play chords not possible on a 6-string guitar.

Many of them have a longer scale length. The main benefit of this is better sound for the lower strings. It's the reason a grand piano's bass strings sound much better than an upright piano - the grand piano has much longer bass strings than the upright.

So I'm pretty happy with this guitar. It's beautiful, well-made, and fun to play, however, the one thing I'm having trouble with is... string spacing.

Now I'm talking about the space between the strings. It's narrower than that of a 6-string guitar, and the problem with that is it is more difficult to play chords, and just feels odd, plus it's pretty easy to get your left hand on the wrong string when you're used to a 6-string.

On many of the websites where you can order a guitar, they have a list of specifications, but string-spacing is generally not listed! This is a problem I hope is remedied soon.

I don't know anywhere where a guitarist can play a number of these things to compare them. These days, you just have to order a guitar, try it out and then decide whether or not to keep it.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Ring of Fire

Back in the 90s, one of the bands that caught my attention was Catherine Wheel, a British band that was heavy on the effect-laden guitars; they were considered to be one of the better shoegazer bands of that era. I remember going down to Mississippi Nights at Laclede's Landing on Election night to see them.

Unfortunately, I missed most of their show as I had to work that night, and they switched headlining duties with the other bands (which might have been House of Love and Ocean Colour Scene, or something like that).
Still, I caught enough to see that they were at least as great live as they were on their debut Ferment. Unfortunately, being election night, and maybe since these bands weren't super-big, there just wasn't much of a crowd at that show.

After the show the bands and some of us in attendance went to the bar next door, but it was just kind of a weird, slow night, and probably a bit of a sausage-fest (lack of girls, you know)..

Today I was looking at their bio on Wikipedia and noticed that (supposedly) they named themselves after the firework-in-a-wheel known as a Catherine Wheel. Interesting, I thought, since years before, when my brother and I were little more than toddlers, we had a run-in with one of those. I guess my dad had lit the damn thing after nailing it to a tree, and it came loose, and I swear this thing was chasing after us in the backyard!

It must've been quite a sight.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Got website?

Lately I've been spending a little too much free time on my website Earlier in the year I revamped a website for Chopstix Asian Kitchen using ASP.NET, and that energized and inspired me to get something up to market myself.

Maybe it's a bit geeky, but I really do enjoy this stuff. I'll admit, getting CSS (cascading style sheets) to work properly is a bit of a pain in the booty. However I learned a few things along the way, like how to:
  • use the master page feature of ASP.NET, which keeps your code modular and easier to maintain
  • display an rss feed from another source on a website
  • display a YouTube feed (not working :-/ ) (similar to the rss feed)
  • create a form-based guestbook with field validation
It will probably always be a work in progress; there's always room for improvement or more (and better) content. But at least I've got something there.